A bit serious again...oops...sorry. Will lighten up tomorrow!
In the development of social ideals, there was a time when some people went round saying we were all the same. Woman were the same as men, black people the same as white, disabled people were as capable as able bodied people etc in an attempt to combat prejudice. Those 'same' statements were making a point, at that stage of social consciousness development, that needed to be made. In other words, 'don't assume we can't do something or make assumptions about us because of who we are'.
However, it was soon realised that this was not an overly effective approach in the aim for fairness and thankfully things have moved on. It has been realised that simply treating everyone the same does not acknowledge institutionalised disadvantage and the barriers a person might come up against as a result of belonging to a particular group or minority. In other words, efforts have to be made to ensure that everyone can participate equally in the activities and opportunities that are available. This is extremely obvious when it comes to disabled people, for example.
However to help people consider this idea further in my difference, diversity and inclusion training I use this....
I state that the 'institution' changes from place to place but that this would be typical for a Norfolk country school (people usually nod furiously at this point). And I say, if you are an 'insider', it is very hard to imagine what it is like to be an outsider because all the things that make the outsider feel the way they do, the insider will not even register. It's easy, when you are an insider, to be complacent and dismissive of issues that 'outsiders' might raise, because from where you sit, it is not an issue.
And this is why consultation is so crucial. You cannot make assumptions about 'outsider' groups (that's not helpful as I have already stated, insiders are not in the right place to understand barriers), so you have to ask, to find out what the barriers are.
'Outsiders' might also not always be registered as such. For example, a single male in a team of females might be made to feel like an outsider but because males are not generally seen as 'outsiders' in society, their exclusion or discrimination might not be acknowledged (such as in the team of social workers that I worked with recently).
You may have also noticed that I have put 'girls' and boys' as outsiders. I do this to highlight that sometimes the institution favours boys and sometimes it favours girls.
N.B. I appreciate I have made several of these points in comments on my posts but it's nice to put it all together!